June 2014

Is Cloud-Based CAD Ready for Prime Time? Part 1

Grazed from Cadalyst.  Author: Alex Herrera.

After years of working in the era of the personal computer, we've all grown accustomed to the familiar sight of a PC or workstation tower under our desks, or a notebook or mobile workstation on our laps. But with a host of new technologies and solutions coming to market — backed by the biggest names in computing silicon, systems, and software — CAD users may need to adjust their expectations about where their computers reside.

Server-based computing (SBC) is back in the IT limelight. Granted, it has taken a different shape than in the past, and marches under several different banners: cloud computing, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), client consolidation infrastructure (CCI), and hosted virtual desktops (HVD), to name a few...

Nutanix NX-3000 review: Virtualization cloud-style

Grazed from ComputerWorld.  Author: Paul Ferrill.

What do you get when you combine four independent servers, lots of memory, standard SATA disks and SSD, 10Gb networking, and custom software in a single box? In this instance, the answer would be a Nutanix NX-3000. Pigeonholing the Nutanix product into a traditional category is another riddle altogether. While the company refers to each unit it sells as an "appliance," it really is a clustered combination of four individual servers and direct-attached storage that brings shared storage right into the box, eliminating the need for a back-end SAN or NAS.

I was recently given the opportunity to go hands on with a Nutanix NX-3000, the four nodes of which were running version 3.5.1 of the Nutanix operating system. It's important to point out that the Nutanix platform handles clustering and file replication independent of any hosted virtualization system...

Cloud For The Feds - Salesforce Obtains Federal Certification

Grazed from Forbes.  Author: Ben Kepes.

Yesterday it was the news that former bitter rivals, Salesforce and Microsoft, has found new love and respect and had entered into a broad-ranging partnership. Today Salesforce scored another coup with the announcement that it is the first vendor to be granted Federal Certification for both Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) has long been the holy grail for cloud infrastructure vendors – since its introduction back in 2011 a number of infrastructure vendors have obtained certification. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard among them.

But until now FedRAMP hadn’t covered the higher levels of the cloud stack, SaaS and PaaS. While this might sound like a confusing series of acronyms, it is actually pretty important. Infrastructure as a Service allows organizations to essentially buy servers on demand. Instead of having to buy physical boxes, build data centers and wrangle the details of running the same, they can instead “hire” infrastructure from a cloud vendor...

CloudEthernet Forum to fight cloud fragmentation

Grazed from TelcoReview.  Author: Editorial Staff.

Every cloud provider has its own technologies, its own buzzwords, its own APIs – and that’s a challenge for enterprises.  High on their cloud shopping lists are ideas like portability, compatibility and interoperability.  So far, cloud providers have been unable to address those demands. That’s about to change, thanks to standards work being done by the CloudEthernet Forum, a relatively new nonprofit organization spun out of the well-established MEF (Metro Ethernet Forum).

The CEF previewed two new programs at the NetEvents Cloud Innovation Summit, held here in late March 2014: the CloudE 1.0 Framework and OpenCloud Project.  The CloudE 1.0 Framework defines a set of standardized services to be offered by cloud service providers...

Everything Comes at a Cost, Even Cloud

Grazed from WatersTechnology.  Author: Max Bowie.

Any discussion of return on investment relies on the ability to measure two things: the return generated, and the amount spent to achieve it. In the world of market data, the question is, “How much money can I make as a result of buying and using dataset x, net of the cost of that dataset?” In many cases, this is quantifiable, and traders have used this very argument to justify buying expensive data services.

However, over the past few lean years, one of the main drivers of any meager spend increases has been regulatory compliance—an area of spend that firms are reluctant to swallow because it is not something that offers any monetary return on their investment, unless you count avoiding non-compliance fines. So, many firms are looking to cloud computing to deliver cost savings around these initiatives as the “least bad” option to reduce a cost burden that didn’t exist until recently...

AvePoint Enters New Partnership with Cloud|AG to Offer Customers Office 365 Managed Services

Grazed from PRWeb. Author: PR Announcement.

AvePoint, the established global leader in enterprise-class cloud management, governance, and compliance software solutions for next-generation social collaboration platforms, today announced a partnership with Cloud|AG, an Atlanta-based products and services company specializing in Microsoft's cloud-based collaboration and business applications. The agreement will enable the two companies to offer best-in-class managed services for modern businesses seeking enhanced backup, recovery, and administration of their Microsoft cloud services, including Office 365 and Azure.

AvePoint Online Services, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) management platform for Microsoft Office 365 and any cloud-hosted SharePoint environments, in tandem with Cloud|AG's commitment to helping businesses of all sizes implement Microsoft's strategic cloud platforms, will provide organizations worldwide a set of robust products and services designed to help customers implement and manage their Microsoft cloud-based solutions...

Large businesses lead the pack of OpenStack users and advocates

Grazed from CIOL. Author: Editorial Staff.

Larger companies are among the fastest-growing segments of OpenStack users and advocates. In fact, a survey conducted by Metacloud, Inc., which deploys and supports private clouds for some of the world's largest companies, reported that 72 percent of respondents at the OpenStack Summit 2014 in Atlanta last week were attending this event for the first time.

Of those first-time attendees, 65 percent are employed by companies with 2,500 or more employees, signifying a shift in the sizes of businesses that are embracing OpenStack as a private cloud option. "The fact that the majority of all respondents are from companies with more than 2,500 employees demonstrates what we've known all along - OpenStack provides the scalability and security that large businesses need when deploying cloud solutions," said Steve Curry, co-founder and president at Metacloud...

Why the private cloud has stalled

Grazed from InformationWeek. Author: Eric Knorr.

The appeal of making your own data center cloudlike is easy to understand: Who wouldn't want an entirely flexible commodity infrastructure, where you can pour on compute, storage, and network resources as needed? From the early days of the cloud, CIOs saw promise in the cloud's magic combination of reduced cost and vastly greater agility and wanted to capitalize on cloud architecture in their own organizations.

But those closer to the ground in enterprise IT have always had a tendency to roll their eyes. They see the advantage of scale-out, self-service architectures for some applications -- such as dev and test -- but the return on investment in other areas is not always so obvious. Part of that resistance is the usual allergic reaction to change, because major shakeups mean fewer resources to meet project deadlines and keep legacy systems humming...

Cloudwords Joins Panel on Cloud-Based Localisation Technology

Grazed from PRWeb. Author: PR Announcement.

Cloudwords, the first cloud-based marketing globalization platform, announced today that Michael Meinhardt, Co-founder and CCO, will participate in the panel titled, "Localising in the Cloud: Over-hyped or the Real Deal?" at the Localization World Dublin 2014 conference to be held 4-6 June at The Convention Centre Dublin. Meinhardt joins panel participants from Agilent, GoPro, and SAP, as well as other cloud technology vendors, to discuss best practices, as well as the benefits and challenges, of leveraging cloud technology to manage the translation and localisation of global content.

"Enterprise organisations are increasingly challenged by the enormous amount of content that requires localisation in order to communicate with customers, engage audiences, and stay ahead of the competition. To solve this challenge, they need to implement a better business process, one that enables transparency, visibility and accountability. Cloud technology delivers that today. I look forward to a compelling and informative discussion with my fellow panel participants at Localization World Dublin," said Meinhardt...

Cloud Computing: 6 Models Of The Modern Data Center

Grazed from InformationWeek. Author: Charles Babcock.

The cloud hasn't killed the company-owned data center. Companies from General Motors to Fidelity are taking the best infrastructure ideas from Web giants such as Facebook and Google and adapting them to their very different business needs in order to build a new generation of data centers.

To highlight the different approaches and strategies these companies are taking, we looked at six companies beyond the Web giants that have made or are planning major data center investments. Our point isn't that data center construction is booming; Gartner forecasts only 2.3% growth in data center spending in 2014, to $143 billion. Companies will spend more than twice that on enterprise software, by comparison, at a growth rate of nearly 7%...

Is Hardware Back? Mobile and Cloud Technology Offer Clues

Grazed from CIO. Author: Jonathan Hassell.

If you haven't been living under a rock, you've heard pundits proclaim the death of the PC. As consumers move to tablets and stop buying laptops and desktops, and as companies pinch IT budgets even harder than they have in the past, it's easy to paint a doomsday scenario for hardware. Even the hardware companies play into this myth — look no further than AMD to see weakness portrayed. For many, it seems, hardware has lost its sexiness.

Not so fast. Hardware is back. There are two clear catalysts for hardware in this era: Mobile devices as well as the explosion of cloud computing as a way to host applications, infrastructure and services. Let's unpack the promise of hardware from these two perspectives a little more...

Looking to the cloud to manage big data and social content storage

Grazed from InsideCounsel. Author: Juliana Kenny.

Big data’s growth and usage is both benefitting and befuddling businesses. As many are still yet coming to terms with what Big Data means, how it works, and the kinds of technologies needed to fully take advantage of what it has to offer, companies that are embroiled in legal cases face particular disadvantages. The storage and archiving practices of old — and the storage of particular amounts of data to prepare for legal issues — are no longer sufficient for businesses that need to be courtroom-ready.

Already, the need is clear for new methods of collecting and archiving large sets of data including social-based content. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined Barclays $3.75 million in December 2013 for failing to preserve many of its required electronic books and records from at least 2002 to 2012. The records include order and trade ticket data, trade confirmations, blotters, account records and others. Since the failures were prevalent throughout the firm's business areas, Barclays could not determine whether all of its electronic books and records were maintained in an unaltered condition...

Blackstone Makes Strategic Investment in Cloud Theory

Grazed from BusinessWire. Author: PR Announcement.

Blackstone (NYSE:BX) today announced that it has made a strategic investment in Cloud Theory, a technology consulting firm specializing in cloud-based solutions, to expand its product offering with customized Salesforce software for alternative asset managers. Cloud Theory's FundEngine solution was designed and built in partnership with the Blackstone Innovations team, and offers a turn-key, client-facing customer relationship management ("CRM") system for alternative asset management firms that is built on top of the Salesforce platform, an industry leader in cloud computing and CRM software.

FundEngine customizes the general purpose Salesforce platform and tailors it for alternative asset management business development, fundraising and client relations, as well as fund management, due diligence and research management. FundEngine also integrates with leading industry vendors, back office systems and fund administrators...

Cloud Computing: Zadara Turns Storage into a Service

Grazed from ITBusinessEdge. Author: Michael Vizard.

Data storage used to be relatively simple, in the sense that it was generally all in one location. But with the advent of cloud computing, data is now stored both inside and out of the enterprise. Looking to help IT organizations get a better handle on all the storage, Zadara Storage has created a storage-as-a-service offering based on the open source OpenStack cloud management platform that makes it easier to manage storage systems deployed both on premise and in the cloud.

Noam Shender, vice president of business development for Zadara Storage, says the Virtual Private Storage Array (VPSA) can be deployed on premise, in a managed hosting environment and in the cloud. Regardless of where the VPSA is deployed, Shender says a unified console allows IT organizations to manage petabytes of flash and magnetic storage systems as a single service via RESTful application programming interfaces (APIs) that Zadara exposes...

The Cloud is Not Do-it-Yourself

Grazed from MSPMentor. Author: Editorial Staff.

eFolder recently participated in the HTG Vendor Peer Group meeting in Cedar Rapids, IA, at the headquarters of Great America Financial. The highlight of the meeting was the partner panel, where we brought together a panel of three business principals from the local MSP and VAR community. The Vendor Peer Group itself is made up of about 20 IT vendor personnel.

In our recent panel, one partner made a very astute observation: “Cloud computing is not do-it-yourself computing.” The context for the quote was a conversation around Office 365 and client perceptions around ease of use and complexity of the cloud. The largest IT vendors such as Microsoft and Google have successfully marketed the promise of the cloud to clients and users. These vendors have marketed the cloud as affordable, easy, and secure. The reality is far more complex. And this is good news for the IT channel...

Evolve IP Receives VMware vCloud Powered Validation

Grazed from TheVarGuy. Author: Michael Cusanelli.

Cloud service provider Evolve IP is the latest company to achieve VMware (VMW) vCloud Powered validation, giving the company the full support of VMware’s popular virtualization and cloud computing technology. The designation officially gives Evolve IP’s cloud services the backing of VMware and its virtualization and cloud computing technology.

As a current member of the VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP), Evolve IP provides vCloud Powered service to its customers across a common platform that supports VMware’s existing applications set as well as application mobility from the company. With the inclusion of vSphere and vCloud Director, Evolve IP said it will be able to provide its customers with more options to virtualize their infrastructures...

Cloud Computing: Apple unveils iOS8 with health and home apps

Grazed from LiveMint. Author: Editorial Staff.

Apple Inc. introduced new health and connected home features for the software powering the iPhone and iPad, laying the groundwork for a busy second half of the year as the company seeks to rev up its growth. Apple released new mobile software, called iOS8, at its annual developer conference in San Francisco.

The software includes HealthKit, which lets people monitor their health and acts as a data hub for fitness apps, and HomeKit, which includes home automation elements so people can control locks, garage doors and lights from their devices. Apple company also showed products for storing and sending files—iCloud Drive and Maildrop—and an updated version of its Mac OS dubbed Yosemite...

Let The Battle Of The Clouds Commence As Apple's OSX Continuity Challenges Microsoft's Windows Live

Grazed from Forbes. Author: Ewan Spence.

With the introduction of Continuity for OSX Yosemite and iOS 8, not only has Tim Cook given Apple users a coherent platform from mobile phone and tablet to laptop and desktop, he has given Apple an opportunity to be number one in the battle for cloud storage and cloud computing services.

The top level statistics for OSX are impressive. The install base for Mac grew by 12% (compared to a 5% decrease for the PC market), and 40 million copies of OSX Mavericks have been installed. That?s more than 50% of the potential audience, and drew a humorous comparison to Windows 8's 14% adoption...

Cloud Computing Predictions Show Where IT's Focus Should Be

Grazed from Midsize Insider. Author: Shawn Drew.

There is little doubt that the cloud is on the rise, but in order to best take advantage of it over the long term, IT professionals require a bit more specificity when it comes to where the cloud will be within the next few years. Some new cloud computing predictions that focus on where the technology will be in the near future can help IT managers and executives properly prepare for this technology revolution.

Cloud Computing Predictions

At this point, it seems that just about every IT department has at least looked into the cloud. Many have already decided to shift some aspects of the data center there, but others may be taking a more methodical approach, waiting for some certainty before committing assets to adoption. While this is usually a smart path, delaying cloud adoption could be a big mistake given where the technology is headed, as summarized in a collection of cloud computing predictions in a recent MSPmentor article...

HP Launches High Security Private Cloud for Public Sector

Grazed from NextGov. Author: Editorial Staff.

HP Enterprise Services announced a new secure private cloud solution designed specifically to ease and accelerate government agencies’ migrations to the cloud. HP’s latest roll-out, Helion Managed Private Cloud for Public Sector, offers agencies a managed, dedicated private cloud that allows federal, state and local governments to implement shared service models across their many departments.

Additionally, the managed private cloud allows agencies or departments to act as IT brokers through the use of a Web-based portal where resources like computing can be monitored and charged back through. Helion was designed with the “unique security requirements” of the government in mind, including the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, known as FedRAMP, at the moderate impact level; Federal Information Security Management Act, or FISMA high; the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, privacy rules; and the Defense Information System Agency Enterprise Cloud Service Broker impact Level-5, according to Jeff Bergeron, Chief Technology Officer for HP U.S. Public Sector...